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Graphic by www.truthdig.com

Graphic by www.truthdig.com

An estimated 48 million Americans live without health care coverage, which calculates to about 15.4 percent of the country’s population.

It was arguably in response to these statistics, among other factors, President Barack Obama put the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) into motion.

The act was made active at the beginning of 2014 and requires all Americans to have health insurance “whether through their employer or the individual market,” according to Money.CNN.com.

Medicare reforms

Senior citizens may be affected by ObamaCare because it touches directly on Medicare, a federal health insurance program offered to adults over 65 years old, and others, which consists of various “parts” that cover specific services.

Those who already have Original Medicare, known as Parts A and B, which cover medical and hospital care, can often also qualify for advantages,  known as Part C.

 Part C is often given through employers and takes the place of both Parts A and B because it covers hospital care, outpatient care and visits to the doctor, according to Medicare-plans.org.

A senior must choose to have Part C coverage, and a monthly premium is required. ObamaCare influences patients with Part C plans because it reduces the cost employers have to pay in order to obtain advantage programs.

However, Part D, which includes coverage for prescription drug plans, is really where ObamaCare takes effect.

In terms of senior citizens, the ACA aims to close a coverage gap of Part D or a “donut hole” that has previously prohibited seniors from affording their prescriptions.

A gap in coverage was caused by a limit imposed on many Medicare prescription drug plans, according to Medicare.gov.

Once an insured person has spent over $2,850, he or she reaches the coverage gap.

In years previous, a person would be required to pay the full amount owed after the gap was reached.

However, The ACA lends aid to those who reach the donut hole by only charging “47.5 percent of the plan’s cost for covered brand-name prescription drugs,” as stated on Medicare.gov.

People can acquire these savings by purchasing their medication at a pharmacy or ordering them online. In addition, the 47.5 percent paid is considered an “out-of-pocket” cost, which the insured person can report and use to get out of the cycle of gap coverage.

“The [closing of] the donut hole really does help people,” Jefferson County Human Services intern Jessica Coburn said. “I don’t think people even realize how much it helps them.”

ObamaCare and Whitewater’s elderly community

As a city that encompasses a handful of nursing homes, Whitewater, Wis., has its fair share of elderly citizens.

Dr. Kenneth Kidd, a specialist in geriatric medicine, provides care and prescribes medication for many seniors in the Whitewater area

Kidd said his patients will eventually benefit from the ACA and experience a difference in care when it comes to the closing donut hole.

However, despite closing the gap in Part D plans and adding affordable care for seniors, Economic Support Supervisor for Walworth County’s Department of Health & Human Services Carol Wicklund said, “The act does not have [much] of an impact on elderly, blind or disabled individuals [in Whitewater].”

Coburn explained, “ObamaCare doesn’t have a ton to do with Medicare because it’s already funded by a public program.”

Medicare recipients already purchase supplemental insurance, also known as Medigap insurance, which is sold by private companies and acts like Parts C and D to cover what Original Medicare doesn’t. Medigap can cover copayments, coinsurance and deductibles, according to Medicare.gov.

In other words, “[recipients of Medicare] are already in compliance with the law so they don’t need to do anything else,” Coburn said.

However, the act does not cover some elderly and disabled people because they are covered separately through an Elderly, Blind and Disabled plan, which is different from Medicare or Medicaid.

In terms of those on Medicare, Certified Nursing Assistant, at Fairhaven Senior Care, Julie Vodak said she hasn’t noticed much of a change in her patients’ medications, neither positively nor negatively.

“It’s not like someone is coming around and saying, ‘No, you cannot have your vitamin C,’” Vodak said.

It should be noted that Fairhaven, in particular, is not necessarily an accurate representation of the average “senior citizen” in a

nursing home, Director of Social Services Valerie Cole said.

“Many are retired college professors or professionals, so none have really had to deal with ObamaCare issues that community at

large people would,” Cole said. “They live on pensions, social security and investments.”

Several residents of Fairhaven have Medicare plans that are coupled with supplementary insurance. These high-quality Medicare plans, and the additional insurance, free them up from having to worry about reaching the donut hole.

Although the topic of ObamaCare has only recently exploded on the media, the reform has actually been on President Obama’s agenda since 2011.

In fact, for almost three years, through Part C coverage, the ACA has been preventing seniors from putting off doctor’s visits and screenings while giving them better access to cancer screenings, wellness visits, personalized prevention plans, vaccines, flu shots and more, according to Obamacarefacts.com.

Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The law attached to ObamaCare also includes reforms to both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Both Medicaid and CHIP are related to BadgerCare in Wisconsin, according to Jill Johnson, the manager of Public Assistance for Jefferson County.  

In addition to these services, a program known as Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan (HIRSP) is offered to Wisconsin residents who cannot find adequate health insurance due to preexisting medical conditions, according to HIRSP.org.

Wisconsin residents may qualify for HIRSP if they can properly document rejection from at least one insurer, are younger than 65 and are not eligible for employer-offered group health insurance.

In sum, “[BadgerCare, CHIP and HIRSP] refer to the budget that sends money to the state,” Johnson said.

Reforms on these programs involve two separate parts, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152).

According to Medicaid.org, both of these parts work together to expand Medicaid and CHIP coverage to millions of Americans with low incomes.

Medicaid and CHIP services provide assistance to over 60 million Americans including children, pregnant women, parents, seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Each state has discretion to administer and establish its own Medicaid programs. It can decide the type, amount, duration and scope of services.

ObamaCare’s affect on pharmaceuticals

Pharmacist Grant McCullough, of McCullough’s Prescriptions and Gifts in Whitewater, Wis., said he hasn’t necessarily seen any “direct” changes in his customers’ coverage. The “indirect” changes from the ACA mainly affect people who have disorders that require expensive medication to treat and prevent, he added.

“Prescription drug coverage varies and is based on the drug being taken,” McCullough said. “Some medications, like medication for high blood pressure, are dirt cheap and will still be dirt cheap when covered by insurance. Other disorders like muscular sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes can require thousands of dollars in medication costs.”

Some peoples’ medications are so inexpensive, in fact, that it costs them more to meet their deductibles than it does to obtain the actual medication.

While on the other hand, the people who pay hundreds of dollars for their medications meet their deductibles within a matter of months.

“That goes to the point of healthy people paying for non-healthy people,” McCullough said.

The federally-facilitated marketplace in Wisconsin

Under changes made by the ACA, the state of Wisconsin has decided to offer access to the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace.

Johnson said the FFM is first accessed and applied for on the healthcare.gov website.

“If someone applies and they are eligible, they get boosted to the access.wisconsin.gov site,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s job as the manager of public assistance requires her to look over all applications submitted by residents of Jefferson County.

According to CMS.gov, The FFM is implemented in states that have decided not to develop their own marketplaces.

FFM couples with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to establish and maintain the following:

  •   Enrollment and eligibility
  •   Plan management
  •   Small Business Health Options Program application
  •  Financial management
  • Consumer support

Put in simpler terms, the state is not expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income adults. It is only introducing a different outlet, or “marketplace,” for citizens to apply and shop for affordable assistance.

According to numbers released by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, 877 people in Wisconsin signed up for health care plans during the first month of the marketplace.

Even with the introduction of the new streamlined enrollment process created by ObamaCare, Wisconsin’s state government has had contradicting ideas when it comes to adding and subtracting people from Medicaid.

In August of 2013, as reported by Biztimes.com, Governor Scott Walker cut more people from Medicaid than any other state.

An estimated 92,000 Wisconsin citizens, including 87,000 parents and caretaker relatives and 5,000 childless adults with incomes above the federal poverty level, lost Medicaid coverage.

Wisconsin is among only four other states that planned to cut Medicaid coverage last year. The others include Maine with 35,000 people cut from coverage, Vermont with 19,000 and Rhode Island with 6,700, according to BizTimes.com.

In the same breath, Walker moved to extend BadgerCare/HIRSP coverage by three months to those who would lose their care in January of 2014, as reported by NYTimes.com.

“Although this extension would help some, it will keep over 100,000 Wisconsinites (i.e. the BadgerCare waitlist) uninsured for three more months,” Chairwoman of the Walworth Affordable Care Act Awareness Steering Committee, Dr. Katherine Gaulke, said, “and that is three long months for flu season or for a person with diabetes who hasn’t been able to receive care or pay for medications.”

The extension in coverage was a response to a delay in legislation due to defections with the federal website, access.wisconsin.gov.

According to Steve Yaccino, of The New York Times, Walker said, “We’re talking about real people’s lives. I’m not going to let the failures of the federal government bring down people who are caught in between systems that just aren’t working right now.”

Wisconsin’s website was supposed to be up and running in December, but the deadline was stretched to the end of March.

It is due to this delay that Coburn said a State-Facilitated Marketplace may work better than the federal system Wisconsin has adopted.

“There are just so many levels of bureaucracy between an individual and coverage,” Coburn said. “If [the marketplace is] in your state, you have more control and it’s easier to get help if you have a problem.”

She pointed to Minnesota as an example of a state with an SFM and said it was a “much more organized effort.”

“They started outreach much sooner than Wisconsin,” Coburn said. “Everything was last minute in [this state].”

With the introduction of the FFM, many people who had BadgerCare lost their coverage at the end of March 2014.

BadgerCare used to provide coverage for pregnant women and children who were younger than 19, but the ACA has changed the rules so anyone with an income below 100 percent of poverty is eligible.

This will kick about 270,000 people off of BadgerCare, according to Johnson.

However, those with 100 to 400 percent above poverty will go to the marketplace and select insurance. It is estimated that 100,000 people will be added onto Medicaid this way.

The categories of insurance offered through the marketplace are broken down into five categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Catastrophic.

Healthcare.gov suggests “plans in these categories differ based on how you and the plan share the costs of your care.” The site also states, “The categories have nothing to do with the amount or quality of care you get.”

However, the Director of Health for UW-Whitewater’s University Health & Counseling Services, Ruth Swisher, said she does not suggest purchasing lower than Platinum.

While all of the plans cover wellness and preventative care, “[with the lower plans] you will have a lot of out-of-pocket costs, and it will not be as robust,” Swisher said.

The out-of-pocket costs include money an individual must pay towards his or her care before an insurance company begins to pay its share. This money includes fees from deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.

The ACA’s affect on UW-Whitewater students

The law may also affect students of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

For one thing, Coburn said students can benefit from the increases in preventative care.

“As part of the ACA, preventative care is covered without a copay,” Coburn said, “even if you’re on your parents’ insurance.”

However, things are not so simple when preventative care turns into a diagnosis.

“There are layers,” Coburn said. “The minute a checkup turns diagnostic, like if a polyp is removed during a colonoscopy, it’s a whole other beast.”

If young adults are not covered on their parents’ insurance, they have the option of applying for care at the marketplace.

According to a poll taken by the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll, nearly 80 percent of Americans under 30 have heard little to nothing about the marketplace.

A foundation called Young Invincibles is aimed at trying educate young people about their health insurance options.

As reported by Dana Sand, of USA Today, the deputy director of Young Invincibles, Jennifer Mishory, said students will be affected by the online marketplace in three significant ways:

  1. Students can enroll in plans without the threat of being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
  2. Students who earn less than about $46,000 or families that earn less than $94,000 annually may be able to access free coverage through Medicaid or discounted coverage through monthly tax credits depending on the state and their exact income level.
  3. New plans will provide free preventive services, annual checkups, prescriptions and substance use disorder services.

On UW-Whitewater’s campus specifically, students have several options to choose from when it comes to obtaining health insurance.

As mentioned earlier, the ACA has made it possible for a young adult to remain on his or her parents’ plan as long as “the family can make it work financially,” Swisher said.

If a student is not covered through a family plan, he or she can apply for insurance on the marketplace or for plans offered through the university, which are provided through Nationwide Insurance. 

The university’s plans, however, are expected to increase dramatically in price next fall.

The annual plan for this year, which ends in May, was $1,200 and is estimated to increase to more than $4,000 next year, Swisher said.

The increase in cost and the decrease in coverage have to do with the university’s plans being “voluntary,” meaning UW-Whitewater is not required to offer them through the University of Wisconsin system.

Not many students take advantage of plans offered through the university, so cost sharing is low. This is what makes the coverage rates so high.

“I’d like to see students sign a ‘hard waiver,’” Swisher said. “Students who have insurance through another mean would be waived out, but other students would need to sign up. This would force [an insurance company] to give us better rates and coverage.”

International students who come to study at UW-Whitewater, however, are required to sign up for a mandatory plan.

According to Swisher, these students have access to better plans, and they only have to pay $1,400 for coverage every year.

Hard waivers and mandatory plans have also been implemented by private universities throughout the state, “so we know it works,” Swisher said.

In addition, the ACA has created restrictions that include fines for students who choose to opt out of any coverage.  Students will be fined $100 if they remain uncovered this year, and that price is expected to increase every year.

Swisher said she and other “task groups” on campus have presented the issues surrounding student healthcare to the Student Health Advisory Committee, and the Whitewater Student Government has also shown favor in a hard waiver.

The Board of Regents, however, has yet to progress the idea further.

“We have had our voices heard, but nothing has happened,” Swisher said. “I’m clearly in support of people having insurance, and I’m disappointed that [Wisconsin] is behind the times because other states are doing more.”

FFM processing in Jefferson and Walworth Counties

In order to help the citizens of Jefferson and Walworth Counties, there is a “regional enrollment network that works with the customers to assist them in applying at the marketplace,” Johnson said.

Jefferson County Human Services, in particular, employs five certified application counselors who help people apply for the marketplace.

This network works to give citizens free access to computers through the human services, two hospitals, free clinics and health departments.

“We are currently receiving large groups of applications that were sent to the marketplace last year and are now coming to Wisconsin to be processed,” Johnson said. “I have over 700 applications to look over.”

If an applicant is not eligible, however, the health and human services will still try to provide assistance.

 “If you apply at accesswisconsin.gov or the marketplace and are ineligible, they will forward your application to another program,” Johnson said.

The people who are ineligible can find a contortion number, call the office in either Walworth or Jefferson County and set up a meeting with a certified application counselor.

The future of free clinics

With more and more people becoming insured, there is concern over the future of free clinics around the area.

In Walworth County, the clinic is called Open Arms Free Clinic and Jefferson County’s clinic is ran through Fort HealthCare and called the Rock River Free Clinic.

“Uninsured people go to free clinics if they need health care, especially if they have chronic illnesses or just get sick,” Coburn said.

However, the goal of ObamaCare is not to insure every single American, Coburn said. The goal is to cut the number of those currently uninsured by half, therefore there will always be people who need the services offered by free clinics, she added.

The future of controversy

Coburn said she blames the recent controversies surrounding ObamaCare on “selective memory.”

When Medicare was first introduced in the 1960s, many were skeptical of its efficiency, according to Coburn. The Wisconsin Nursing Association, for which Coburn currently belongs, was one of the first and only organizations in the state to back the program.

“They were chastised by the medical associations,” Coburn said, “but nurses were [and still are] advocates for their patients.”

It is impossible to know if the controversial law will eventually become commonplace, like Medicare, and the ultimate affect of the ACA on Whitewater’s citizens is anything but predictable.

On one hand, elderly community members are being helped through a gap in their coverage, but the young and older adults are simultaneously gaining and loosing access to health care through Medicaid and other programs.

As Coburn explained, “It’s a complex law, and you can’t sum it up in a sound bite.”

A young Bill German shows Keith Richards, guitarist for the Rolling Stones, his fanzine titled "Beggars Banquet." Image taken from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/books/review/Light-t.html?_r=0 on April 6, 2014.

A young Bill German shows Keith Richards, guitarist for the Rolling Stones, his fanzine titled “Beggars Banquet.” Image taken from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/books/review/Light-t.html?_r=0 on April 6, 2014.

Impersonations, candid stories and honest analyses of the members in the Rolling Stones were heard from author Bill German during his talk at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Tuesday, April 1.

German began his presentation the same way he begins his book titled “Under Their Thumb: How a Nice Boy from Brooklyn Got Mixed Up With the Rolling Stones (and Lived to Tell About It).”

“You’ll probably want to kill me when I say my only job in life was with the Rolling Stones,” German said. “Even as a teenager, I wasn’t mowing lawns, washing cars or asking if you want fries with that. I was chasing after my favorite rock band and writing about it.”

German was brought to campus as part of the Visiting Artists and Scholars Program, which aims at giving students access to people who provide more interesting information than simply explaining how they do their job, Carol Terracina-Hartman, a lecturer at UWW, said.

“Under Their Thumb,” which was originally published in 2009, relives German’s eccentric, and sometimes chaotic, experiences working for the Rolling Stones as the editor and writer of their official newsletter called “Beggars Banquet.”

German said he first fell in love with the Rolling Stones after hearing lyrics like, “I was born in a crossfire hurricane” blasting from his sister’s room.

Around the time of German’s growing obsession for the Stones, he also began showing interest in writing and journalism.

In order to combine these passions he started “Beggars Banquet” as a fanzine dedicated to the lives of “The Stones.” He printed his first issue on his 16th birthday.

“I wanted to mix my hobby and profession, which was loving the Rolling Stones as my hobby, and my intended profession was to be a writer or journalist,” German said.

Once his fanzine became more professional, German said he decided to show it to band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood.

After waiting for them all day outside of a club in New York City, German handed a copy of his masterpiece to Wood, the Stones’ drummer.

“Today we’d call [waiting for them all day] stalking,” German said, “but you need to realize celebrity reporting was much different then. It was a much more naïve time.”

Continuing on his pursuit to get noticed by the band, German continued to meet up with the members whenever they were in NYC. He eventually became old enough to wait inside the clubs the Stones were playing at, and he said he’d slip the latest edition into their hands at every chance he had.

German said it was his constant persistence that led Rolling Stones Inc. to take notice of “a nice boy from Brooklyn” and his amateur fanzine.

Eventually the company decided to take “Beggars Banquet” over and turn it into the official Rolling Stones newsletter.

This success led German to quit school and pursue his career writing about the Rolling Stones full time.

During the rest of his talk, German described his book and various adventures he had shared with the members of the band.

He spoke of the time he spilled orange juice on Jagger’s expensive rug, got Richards to open up about his heroin addiction and watched famous blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughn play with Wood in his basement.

In total, German dedicated 17 years of his life to documenting the lives of his favorite rock band. However, he said he decided to stop publishing “Beggars Banquet” in January of 1996 after being “disillusioned and disenchanted” with the rock-star scene.

After describing his departure from the band, German referenced his own success and concluded his presentation with advice to UWW students.

“If you’re pursuing journalism or anything, just don’t give up,” German said. “Persistence is key. Don’t give up on your dreams.”

The picture above illustrates how geothermal heating and cooling works.  Image captured from www.geothermalearthusa.com on March 17, 2013

The picture above illustrates how geothermal heating and cooling works. Image captured from www.geothermalearthusa.com on March 17, 2013

Alternative energy. Every news outlet is talking about it, every business is trying to utilize it and at a meeting on Tuesday night, every supervisor at the Jefferson County Board was debating it.

A new highway shop facility has been set for construction along County Highway N where the former Countryside Home once stood in Jefferson.

It was previously planned to be made from precast concrete walls and have an automated truck wash, storage units and heating and cooling mechanisms provided by geothermal systems.

However, the term “geothermal,” which refers to internal heating created in the earth’s surface used to generate electrical power, seemed to trigger confusion and disagreement among the supervisors of the board.

While they moved to utilize a geothermal system for the 22,897 square foot highway facility in September of 2013, the board later voted to cancel this resolution. Instead, the supervisors resolved that no further funds be expended for the design or construction of the new facility where the geothermal system may be used. 

Supervisor Dick Schultz expressed his opposition to the geothermal system by equating those who are in favor of renewable energy to those who believe in ghosts, reincarnation and aliens, arguing “science is split on climate change.”

“We have a responsibility to look down the road and look to the future,” Schultz said. “That being said, geothermal does not make sense.”

Supervisor Dwayne Morris agreed but also scolded Schultz for the comparisons he drew.

“We need to keep both science and the tax payer in mind, not make fun of this,” Morris said.

Several supervisors also argued against the cost of such a system. The construction costs have been estimated at $15 per square foot, which totals $345,000.

It would take the county an estimated 69 years to pay this money back. Supervisors of the board guessed the geothermal system would have to be replaced at least four times within that time period.

“Sixty-nine years pay back is ridiculous, “Supervisor Gregory Torres said.

Torres, who will not be running for re-election in April, said he was happy to rescind a bad green practice at his last board meeting.

All supervisors voted to withdraw the original resolution and cease funding for a geothermal system.

Biomass fuel, which is derived from wood, vegetation and even garbage, was mentioned as an alternative option by Supervisor Greg David.

“It would keep those energy expenditures right here in Jefferson County and give us local sovereignty,” David said.

The board agreed not to make any final decisions and have those on the Infrastructure Committee continue to look for better and less expensive alternative energy sources to use in the new highway facility.

Also, in regards to the highway shop, the supervisors selected a bid for the precast concrete components of the project on Tuesday.

The companies Miron Construction, Spancrete and Stonecast Products offered bids.

The board selected Miron Construction’s base bid of $1,193,482. This bid was $205,018 less than the target price set at $1,398,500.

This is the first bid selected for the highway shop facility, and production is expected to begin in June.

The board also spoke of the approval of contracts for Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies.

Previously, such employees have been exempt from Act 10, a state law that restricts bargaining rights for public employees.

However, the county has asked the deputies to make sacrifices similar to those that other public employees are making.

The new three-year contracts will require deputies to pay 93 percent of the premium on a health plan selected by the county and will include a 2.5 to 3 percent salary increase.

Other items on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting included a statement made by County Clerk Barb Frank about new voting machines that will be used by Jefferson County’s voters in April, approval for the purchase of property on East Washington Street to be used for courthouse parking and resolutions of appreciation for Supervisors Sarah Bregant, Gregory Torres and Pamela Rogers who will not be attempting re-election on the board.

The next Jefferson County Board meeting will commence at 5 p.m. on April 15. The time change for meetings was changed on Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m., a time in which many supervisors found to be more accessible to the public and more fitting for their schedules.

The board is expected to select a new chair at this meeting.

While all 30 supervisors are up for election in April, only the former Chairman John Molinaro and five other members will face challengers.

 

Council members gathered on Feb. 4 to discuss the most recent issues to affect the citizens of Whitewater.

A rewrite of residential and commercial codes would increase the number of complexes like Fox Meadows (pictured above) that this available to students of UW-Whitewater.     Image taken from www.uww.edu on Feb. 11, 2013.

A rewrite of residential and commercial codes would increase the number of complexes like Fox Meadows Apartments (pictured above) that are available to students of UW-Whitewater.
Image taken from www.uww.edu on Feb. 11, 2013.

Review of zoning codes

After much delay, the scheduling of two public hearings regarding the rezoning of properties close to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater was finally agreed upon.

The idea of rezoning residential and commercial properties was first introduced to the council in September of 2013.

The rezoning would designate more areas for multi-family living situations.

While this issue, which would potentially affect students of UW-Whitewater, has been on the council’s agenda for several months, public hearings concerning the change of zoning codes had yet to be scheduled.

Councilwoman Stephanie Abbott, who works for the rental company D.L.K. Enterprises, Inc., was the first to address this topic.

“It’s embarrassing that these public hearings haven’t happened yet,” she said. “The citizens deserve better discourse.”

Huge bouts of applause from the audience followed Abbott’s comments.

Councilman James Winship joined the conversation and argued the current zoning ordinance doesn’t work well and should be changed. He suggested licensing as a possible solution for those who own multi-family properties.

This licensing process, Winship said, would give residents the choice to either increase the number of people who live in one property or increase revenue for renovations.

“This would help increase the quality of residencies,” Winship said.

City Manager Cameron Clapper said licensing could help keep the students safe because it would force property owners to be held accountable for certain health and maintenance standards.

Numerous landlords who rent to students took the podium and expressed their concerns over the delay of hearings.

Larry Kachel, of D.L.K. Enterprises, Inc., said a review of residential code is necessary and should happen as soon as possible in order to please the students of UW-Whitewater.

“The students are our clients, and we need to be careful with this city’s No. 1 customer,” Kachel said.

After much debate, a public hearing was set to cover the residential review of code on Feb. 25, and March 10 was decided for the commercial review.

 

Whitewater Police Department’s K-9 Unit

Chief Lisa Otterbacher announced the financial goal for the Whitewater Police Department’s K-9 Unit was recently met.

The department was short of this goal at the beginning of 2014.

However, “A very kind gentleman named Stan Kass, of Skylark Automatic Vending Inc. in Milwaukee/Brown Deer area, supplied the remaining $12,000,” Otterbacher said.

Once the canine is received, and before it can be used on the job to detect controlled substances, search for people and teach about the negative aspects of drugs in the community, it must be sworn in.

“This is required for the canine to be treated as an officer under the law,” Otterbacher said.

In the future, there will be a ceremony for the community to welcome the dog because the entire unit has always been “for the community and by the community,” Otterbacher said.  

Storm water management

“We have 15 inch pipes emptying into 12 inch pipes,” Chuck Naas, superintendent for the city of Whitewater, said as he introduced a plan that is hoped to eliminate the flooding of citizens’ yards.

A plan put together by Strand & Associates, Whitewater’s municipal engineering firm, was presented to the common council. It covered two separate studies.

The “Woodland Drive Drainage Study” was introduced first, and the area affected covers over 25 acres of urban area.

Naas noted this area has a problem with drainage due to the interfering of the landscape.

Four separate alternatives were introduced to fix this problem. The first option would require the removal of several mature trees and cost $46,000.

The second alternative includes extensive construction and would cost over $62,000.

The third deals with less landscaping removal and would require less work. This option would cost the city $73,000.

The fourth and final alternative proposed is similar to option No. 3, but it will cost over $12,000 more.

The second study, titled “Drainage Basin 15,” was also discussed.

Naas said this drainage problem comes from a faltering system that was designed in 2002.

“There have been many developments since then that have added to the problems,” Naas said.

Naas described a conceptual drainage plan that will focus on the main area of concern, which is located on Janesville Street.

As part of this plan, 1,100 feet of storm sewer pipes will need to be replaced.

Naas said the city could chose to pay $469,000 for sewer pipes that will last 25 years, or $600,000 for pipes expected to last 100 years.

The council did not agree to anything regarding either study. Further decisions are expected to be made at future meetings.

This image was taken from http://musicwalls.org/music_dave_matthews_band_wallpaper-wallpapers.html on Jan. 31, 2014.

This image was taken from http://musicwalls.org/music_dave_matthews_band_wallpaper-wallpapers.html on Jan. 31, 2014.

 

As part of this year’s Summerfest activities, Dave Matthews Band will headline at the Marcus Amphitheater on July 2.

According to Piet Levy, of jsonline.com, the band will feature two sets for the show. Both will feature electric and acoustic songs.

This performance will replace the show DMB frequently puts on at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wis.

It is the first time in a long time that fans won’t be conflicted about whether to see DMB at Alpine Valley or Summerfest, Levy said.

DMB is the third confirmed headliner, joining Lady Gaga and Zac Brown Band.

Tickets for the show will go on sale Feb. 7.

 

 

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